“If you want to swear in your work, if you want to move between languages, if you want to write about periods, if you want to tell your story through embroidery, do.”

“I’ve been working in the movement to end gender-based violence for the past six years, and always try and bring a creative approach to my work – so it was perhaps no surprise when I began to develop my career as a writer! My writing is as political as my activism is creative, and I firmly believe in championing women telling their own stories, in their own ways, with their own words, and on their own terms.

For me, storytelling is a powerful element in the movement for social justice for women – both with regards to the issue we are trying to change, but also to ourselves as agents of that change. Often, the oppression and discrimination we experience can make us feel silenced or struggling for voice – and, as women, our stories are both historically and currently often devalued or disregarded.

By telling our stories we can reclaim our voices. We can resist constructions or institutions which suggest there is only ‘one way’ to do something – that one way often rooted in the very inequalities and structures we are trying to dismantle. If you want to swear in your work, if you want to move between languages, if you want to write about periods, if you want to tell your story through embroidery, do. Perhaps by telling your story your way, you may inspire someone else on their journey to telling theirs.

As a writer too, I wish to create spaces for women to share their voices and be heard – particularly for fellow young women and women of colour. My debut work, Still, explores women’s stories and women’s survival – be it of Islamophobia, racism, or gender-based violence. Writing and performing poems from Still and other works always feels like reclaiming my voice.

I am also a contributor to Nasty Women by 404 ink, which was published in March this year. It is a collection of essays, interviews, and accounts on what it is to be a woman in the 21st century, a multitude of voices and views that I’m proud to be a part of. These are our stories and truths, let’s support each other to tell them.”

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